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Cameron Maybin and the power of team chemistry

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Detroit Tigers v Minnesota Twins
Cameron Maybin high-fives Andrew Romine
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Ever since Cameron Maybin has learned of being an Angel on November 3 of last year, he has been absolutely pumped at the prospect of playing for the Angels alongside Mike Trout. But despite all that has been written, what hasn’t been talked about enough is Maybin’s outside-the-box-score contributions to his team on a day-to-day basis.

Both Pedro Moura of the LA Times and the Associated Press discussed Maybin’s positive presence with Maybin himself.

“I was, like, the heartbeat to that locker room last year,” Maybin said. “As far as the energy goes, I was the catalyst. I brought the energy every day, the passion to the locker room, the fire. I got guys going. People publicly said that a lot. When I came back, you saw how it turned around. As soon as I got back to the locker room, it was an immediate attitude change. It was an immediate turnaround.”

The facts support his claims: Maybin returned from a season-opening disabled-list stint on May 16 and was named the American League player of the week the subsequent Sunday. The slumping Tigers began to win. Come season’s end, they were 21-32 while Maybin was on the disabled list and 65-43 while he was not.

He expects his personality to have the same effect within the Angels.

Maybin added that “passion and energy” is something he brings to the table, citing his positive influences in the clubhouse. In fact, if you look for baseball pictures of Maybin, you’ll find as many pictures of him energizing or embracing a teammate as you will actual action shots.

As much as we baseball fans like to discuss a certain player’s value, we often fail to incorporate a player’s worth across a locker room. Over the course of 162 games where certain players are always in proximity to one another, it’s an absolute must that they maintain good relationships with one another. The case of Cameron Maybin appears to be one where his value goes beyond the box score, one where he not only plays his heart out on the field, but also is a valuable asset in empowering his teammates.

Said Maybin, “I think my energy speaks for itself. I enjoy playing the game with a passion. It’s the only way I know how to play.”

In the sabermetric age of baseball, it’s within the realm of possibility that Maybin’s trait of empowering others is undervalued. Could being a good teammate be a market inefficiency? Either way, it’s one way for the whole to be greater than the sum of its parts.